Lionel Messi breaks duck against Chelsea as Bayern dominate Besiktas
Bayern Munich are on the brink of quarter-finals while Chelsea and Barcelona’s tie is evenly poised.
Bayern Munich look assured of a Champions League quarter-final berth after thumping Besiktas 5-0 but the tie between Chelsea and Barcelona is finely poised after a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Lionel Messi broke his scoring duck against the Blues at the ninth time of asking, striking with 15 minutes left to secure a draw for Barca.
Chelsea had gone ahead through Willian, who had earlier been twice denied by a post.
But Blues boss Conte, who revealed he had had trouble sleeping ahead of the match, will be having nightmares about the equaliser with his side unable to hold on for a crucial advantage to take to the Nou Camp for the second leg in three weeks.
Although the match had been previewed as a showdown between Messi and Chelsea’s number 10 Eden Hazard, it was Willian who stole the limelight for the hosts as he attacked with pace and power – while Hazard was moved into a false nine role.
Willian twiced warned Barca about his threat from the edge of the area, first crashing a powerful curler on to the far post and then, shortly before the break, hitting a snap-shot which clipped the outside of the opposite upright.
Barca did not learn their lesson though, and the Brazilian opened the scoring just after the hour mark with a powerful low finish.
Messi rescued them as he ended a long wait to score against Chelsea, with Andreas Christensen’s suicidal pass inside his own area allowing Andre Iniesta to tee up the Argentinian.
It was all rather routine for Bayern as they brushed aside the 10-man Besiktas.
The Turkish club had a one-man disadvantage from the 16th minute when last man Domagoj Vida brought down Robert Lewandowski and Bayern made their visitors pay with an emphatic first-leg victory.
Thomas Muller opened the scoring in the 43rd minute, tidying up after David Alaba could not control Kingsley Coman’s cross.
Coman then scored the second, seven minutes into the second half, when he stepped on to Lewandowski’s pull-back to sweep home.
Besiktas adopted a more defensive shape but to no avail, as Muller volleyed home a third in the 66th minute before Lewandowski got in on the fun.
He fired in the rebound when Fabri could only parry Matts Hummels’ attempt in the 79th minute, and then turned in an unselfish square pass from Muller two minutes from time.